Staff welfare - Poland
The Polish Labour Code sets out the rights and obligations of employers and employees.
Equality and non-discrimination
Employees should be treated equally as regards starting and terminating employment, employment conditions, as well as promotion and access to training. Any direct or indirect employment discrimination on the basis of gender, age, disability, race, religion, nationality, political conviction, trade union membership, ethnic background, faith and sexual orientation is unlawful irrespective of whether it is fixed-term, full-time or part-time employment.
Health and safety at work
Employers are responsible for health and safety at work. It is the employers’ duty to ensure safe working conditions, including measures to prevent accidents at work, occupational diseases and other work-related diseases.
Employers are required to evaluate and document the occupational risk associated with the work performed, apply necessary preventative measures to minimise risks, and inform employees about occupational risks and the guidelines on protection against such risks. Employers are also required to provide employees with free personal protection equipment if it is necessary to protect them against threats in the working environment.
According to the Occupational Illnesses and Work Accidents Act, an accident at work is a sudden event caused by an external factor that occurs in connection with work and that causes injury or death. Occupational illnesses are the illnesses listed on the list of occupational illnesses if they are caused by factors that are harmful to health and are present in the working environment or result from work practices.
The Labour Code regulates in detail the starting and termination of employment relationships, the basic rules for determining pay, matters related to working time and annual leave, the employment of minors, health and safety rules as well as matters related to collective labour agreements.
When signing an employment contract, an employee agrees to perform work of a specified type for an employer, under the employer's direction and at a time and place chosen by the employer. The employer agrees to pay remuneration to the employee.
An employment contract should be made in writing ; it should name the parties, specify the type of contract, the date it is signed, as well as the employment conditions and pay, in particular the following:
- the type of work,
- place of work,
- date the employment commences,
- remuneration corresponding to the type of work,
- working time,
- Employment relationship,
Working time cannot exceed 8 hours a day and an average of 40 hours a week in a given settlement period. Weekly working hours together with overtime cannot exceed an average of 48 hours a week in a given settlement period. Employees can receive additional pay or time off for overtime as set out in the Labour Code.
Full-time employees are entitled to annual leave as follows:
- 20 days: if an employee has been employed for less than 10 years,
- 26 days: if an employee has been employed for at least 10 years.
Employees who first start working accrue their leave entitlement for the calendar year in which they start working of 1/12 for each month worked, which can be taken when they have worked for a year.
Employees are entitled to maternity leave as follows:
- 20 weeks for the birth of one child from a single birth,
- 31 weeks for the birth of two children from a single birth,
- 33 weeks for the birth of three children from a single birth,
- 35 weeks for the birth of four children from a single birth,
- 37 weeks for the birth of five and more children from a single birth.
At least 2 weeks of maternity leave can be taken before the anticipated date of birth.
The Labour Code also regulates in detail the situation of employees who have childcare responsibilities.
After 14 weeks of maternity leave following the birth, an employee has a right not to take the remainder of maternity leave. When this happens, the remainder of maternity leave can be used by the child's father, at his written request, if he provides childcare to the child.
An employee who has been employed for at least 6 months is entitled to take childcare leave for up to three years in order to provide personal childcare, but no later than after the end of the fourth year of a child's life.
In addition, an employee can take childcare leave for up to three years, but only until the child reaches 18 years of age, if the child's health requires personal care. Remuneration for work should be fixed so that it corresponds to the particular type of work performed and the qualifications required to perform it. Remuneration should also match the workload and quality of work performed.
In order to protect employees’ remuneration, the Polish Labour Code contains a provision that employees cannot renounce their right to remuneration or transfer this right to another person.
There is a guaranteed minimum wage, which is currently PLN 1,386 (as at 2011) before tax for full-time employees.
Labour law disputes are reviewed by the labour court. The Labour Code states, however, that an employer and an employee should strive to resolve a dispute amicably.
The Civil Proceedings Code contains special procedures in respect of labour law and social insurance, which aim to make it easier for employees to pursue claims.
Organisation of strikes is regulated by the Settlement of Collective Disputes Act, which does not give employers lockout rights. Disobeying the law can lead to financial penalties or a custodial sentence.
Mandatory social rules complete the requirements related to managing staff.
Businesses are free to go beyond the minimum social legal requirements at their own initiative.
New employers have a duty to inform the relevant labour inspector and state sanitary inspector in writing about the place, type and scope of operations within 30 days from the start date of the business.
Health and safety at work
The National Labour Inspectorate is a body set up to supervise and control compliance with labour law.
Information on sending employee's details to the Social Insurance Institution (ZUS), information on paying contributions and on the procedures for identification of payers can be found in the following document:
The following procedures can be found on the ZUS website:
Information and services related to employment and HR management can be found in the Human Resources section of the catalogue of services on the website of the Polish Chamber of Commerce.
The Institute for Private Enterprise and Democracy (IPED), which works with the Polish Chamber of Commerce, has prepared the 'Fair Play Employment' standard that is concerned with the management of human resources. The Institute promotes it to businesses, which contributes to a reduction in discrimination as the key problem on the job market. The application of the standard helps adapt businesses and employees to structural changes in the economy.
The Polish Chamber of Commerce runs the Fair Play Business programme, which promotes business ethics in contacts with customers, partners, employees, shareholders, the local community and local and central authorities, as well as adherence to legal and social rules.
Check also the legislation on this topic in: